Modulation of back geometry in children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy via hippotherapy training
Background and purpose: Controlled hippotherapy environment provides a foundation for improved neurologic function and sensory processing. This foundation can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities, making the horse a valuable therapeutic tool for rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a once weekly, twelve-week hippotherapy program on back geometry in children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.
Subjects: Thirty spastic diplegic children from both sexes, ranging in age from six to eight years represented the sample of this study. The degree of spasticity ranged from 1 to 1+ according to the modified Ashworth scale. They were divided randomly into two groups of equal number A (control) and B (Study).
Procedures: Evaluation of back geometry parameters was conducted for each child of the two groups before and after three months of treatment via using Formetric instrument system. Group A received a designed exercise program, while group B received hippotherapy training in addition to the same exercise program given to group A.
Results: No significant difference was noticed when comparing the pre-treatment results of the two groups, while significant improvement was observed in all the measuring variables of the two groups when comparing their pre and post-treatment mean values. Significant difference was also observed when comparing the post-treatment results of the two groups in favor of group B.
Discussion and conclusion: Hippotherapy utilizes the movement of the horse to provide sensory feedback and may be used as a therapeutic intervention for improving back geometry in children with spastic diplegia.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Diplegia; Back geometry; Hippotherapy